‘Wrong interpretation of Article 371 (A) & BEFRA’
Dimapur, January 18: The NPF Legislature Party has slammed the ruling NDPP of misleading the people of Nagaland through a “mischievous” statement on “Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 in context of Nagaland vis-à-vis Article 371(A)” that was published in the local dailies.
In a statement, the NPF legislature party questioned the reason behind why NDPP would intentionally “cheat, mislead and miseducate the people of Nagaland by imparting wrong information/wrong education, which is totally unbecoming of a political party ruling the State today.”
Reacting to the NDPP statement, the NPF reminded that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and 1955 relates to granting of Indian citizenship whereas 1873 BEFRA vis-à-vis Inner Line Permit is granting of permission to visit certain place/region for a certain period of time.
“These two subjects cannot and should not be clubbed up together but should be always different because it is different to each other by law,” it stated.
The NPF also termed the NDPP statement that Village Councils can grant citizenship as per 371(A) of Constitution of India as “totally wrong and mischievous and intentional misleading of Naga people.” It said the Act of parliament, in regard to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, is to grant citizenship of India but not for citizenship of a village.
“Thus the argument of bringing the village councils or Nagaland Village & Area Council Act 1978 into the picture is irrelevant,” it said.
Regarding the NDPP statement hat even though the Citizenship Bill was passed in Lok Sabha, it is yet to become an Act because it is not passed in the Rajya Sabha, and that the NDPP is asking for review of the bill to the union government, the NPF termed this as a “shameless act to once again intentionally mislead its own people for cheap political mileage.”
“Given that their MP in Lok Sabha Mr. Tokheho Yepthomi has not raised his objection in the LS and now they claim that they have asked for review. This is heights of betrayal and insult to the intellect of the Naga people.”
The NPF agreed with the NDPP statement that Nagaland has been exempted from the purview of the 73rd constitution amendment of 1992 since it will amount to infringement of provision of 371(A), which was done during the Congress regime in the State as well as Centre. But it asked, “Can we expect the same of the NDPP and its coalition partner to do the same?”
Recalling that it had already explained the gist of the CAB to the Naga people in its earlier statement, the NPF legislators appealed to the legal luminaries of the State to come out with their point of view and interpretation in regard to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, so as to enlighten the people further without any political colour.
‘Confuse & brainwash’
Meanwhile the NPF Central Headquarters have has strongly condemned the NDPP statement for trying to “confuse and brainwash” the Nagas whose spirit of conviction, it claimed, has already been awakened as far as the Citizenship Amendment Bill is concerned.
In a rejoinder, the NPF wondered why instead of supporting and protecting the Naga people, the NDPP party continuously feeding Naga people with a wrong interpretation of Article 371 (A) & BEFRA.
It asked the NDPP to clarify why the Government of the day is not opposing but supporting the controversial Bill when the whole of Naga people including the other parts of North Eastern region is making much hue and cry over it.
The NPF also sought to know from NDPP whether the village institutions or the village councils are the sole authority of granting citizenship to an illegal immigrants or outsiders as claimed by them.
“Once the Bill is enacted as an Act of law, can the NDPP stop any foreign settler of Hindu religion who have settled in our state for a period of six years from obtaining the Indian citizenship,” it asked.
Stating that once the Bill is passed, Nagaland cannot be exceptional as any other foreigner settling in any part of the country for a period of six years can obtain Indian citizenship, the NPF said no matter how hard the NDPP try to explain or hide the misdeed and misadventure of its Chief Minister and his Cabinet is doing more harm, as the Nagas are not so ignorant anymore.
The NPF cautioned that Citizenship Amendment Bill directly undermines Article 371 A, as the Article itself cannot override the Constitution of India. It asked the NDPP to stop making a spectacle of themselves, trying to sow seeds of confusion in the minds of the intellectual and enlightened Nagas.
“At the behest of pleasing the Central leaders, the NDPP led PDA Government should not fool the Naga people, as it is still fresh in the minds of the Nagas that after the cabinet decision on 5th June 2018, the PDA team led by Chief Minister has met the Prime Minister and Home Minister and committed that the Nagaland PDA Government decided not to oppose the CAB,” it claimed.
Assuring the people of Nagaland that it will always stand with the principles of regionalism to protect and safeguard the rights of the Nagas, the NPF said its MP Rajya Sabha will remain faithful and vote against the Bill come what may.
At the same time, the NPF requested the NDPP not to politicize the issue but to take up the matter for the future of the Naga people. “The NPF have not raised this issue merely as an opposition party to the Government, but taking into consideration the magnitude and severity of the Bill that is going to place the Naga people in a precarious state in the near future,” it added. (Page News Service)